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File photo of a large stockpile of wood in B.C.

Jeff Bassett/The Canadian Press

Louisiana-Pacific Corp. has reached a friendly deal to acquire Vancouver-based Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. for more than $900-million (Canadian).

Nashville-based Louisiana-Pacific said Wednesday that Ainsworth's largest shareholder, funds managed by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., have agreed to support the transaction.

The private equity funds managed by Toronto-based Brookfield own 54 per cent of Ainsworth, which operates four plants in Canada that produce oriented strand board. OSB is a rival to plywood that is used in home construction and also for covering windows before storms.

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"This transaction provides immediate value and liquidity to our shareholders, as well as the opportunity to participate in LP's continued growth as a global leader in strand-based products and technologies," Ainsworth chief executive officer Jim Lake said in a statement.

The Canadian maker of OSB has operations in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

Louisiana-Pacific is offering a cash-and-stock deal valued at $3.76 a share, which is a 30-per-cent premium to Ainsworth's closing share price of $2.89 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Ainsworth shares rose five cents to close at $2.94 on Wednesday, before the deal was announced.

The buyer will also assume Ainsworth long-term debt, which was listed at $379-million at the end of the second quarter. Based on nearly 241 million shares outstanding, the equity value of the purchase is worth roughly $905-million.

"Ainsworth has very high quality assets and provides us with an expanded suite of strand-based products and technologies, additional access to key international growth markets, particularly in Asia, and enhanced scale and efficiencies in North America," Louisiana-Pacific CEO Curt Stevens said in a release from Nashville.

The U.S. company, a leading maker of wood building materials, made its first foray into Canada in 1978.

In the first half of this year, Ainsworth posted a $38.9-million profit, compared with an $11-million loss in the same period last year. Ainsworth has benefited from the rebound in the U.S. housing market. Sales in this year's first half surpassed $269-million, up from $175-million in the same period of 2012.

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After a court-approved plan of arrangement, at least two-thirds of votes cast by Ainsworth shareholders at a special meeting set for October will be required to help complete the transaction.

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